JS, History, 1838–1856, vol. F-1, created 9 Apr.–7 June 1856 and 20 Aug. 1856–6 Nov. 1856; handwriting of and Jonathan Grimshaw; 304 pages, plus 10 pages of addenda; CHL. This is the final volume of a six-volume manuscript history of the church. This sixth volume covers the period from 1 May to 8 Aug. 1844; the remaining five volumes, labeled A-1 through E-1, go through 30 Apr. 1844.
History, 1838-1856, volume F-1, constitutes the last of six volumes documenting the life of Joseph Smith and the early years of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The series is also known as the Manuscript History of the Church and was originally published serially from 1842 to 1846 and 1851 to 1858 as the “History of Joseph Smith” in the Times and Seasons and Deseret News. This volume contains JS’s history from 1 May 1844 to the events following his 27 June 1844 death, and it was compiled in Utah Territory in 1856.
The material recorded in volume F-1 was initially compiled under the direction of church historian , who was JS’s cousin, and also assistant church historian . Smith collaborated with in collecting material for the volume and creating a set of draft notes, which Smith dictated to Bullock and other clerks. Woodruff gathered additional material concerning the death of Joseph Smith as a supplement to George A. Smith’s work recording that event. Jonathan Grimshaw and , members of the Historian’s Office staff, transcribed the draft notes into the volume along with the text of designated documents.
According to the Historian’s Office journal, Jonathan Grimshaw initiated work on the text of volume F-1 on 9 April 1856, soon after Robert L. Campbell had completed work on volume E-1. (Historian’s Office, Journal, 5 and 9 Apr. 1856.) Grimshaw’s scribal work begins with an entry for 1 May 1844. Unlike previous volumes in which the numbering had run consecutively to page 2028, Grimshaw began anew with page 1. He transcribed 150 pages by June 1856, and his last entry was for 23 June 1844. Though more of his writing does not appear in the volume, he continued to work in the office until 2 August, before leaving for the East that same month. (Historian’s Office, Journal, 2 and 10 Aug. 1856.)
assumed the role of scribe on 20 August 1856. (Historian’s Office, Journal, 20 Aug. 1856.) He incorporated ’s draft notes for the period 24–29 June 1844 on pages 151–189, providing an account of JS’s death and its immediate aftermath. He next transcribed a related extract from ’s 1854 History of Illinois on pages 190–204. Pages 205–227 were left blank.
provided the notes for the final portion of the text. This account begins with an entry for 22 June 1844 and continues the record through 8 August 1844, ending on page 304. (The volume also included ten pages of addenda.) The last specific entry in the Historian’s Office journal that captures at work on the history is for 6 November 1856. A 2 February 1857 Wilford Woodruff letter to indicates that on 30 January 1857, the “presidency sat and heard the history read up to the organization of the church in , 8th. day of August 1844.” (Historian’s Office, Journal, 6 Nov. 1856; Wilford Woodruff, Great Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, to George A. Smith, 2 Feb. 1857, Historian’s Office, Letterpress Copybooks, vol. 1, p. 410; see also Wilford Woodruff, Great Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, to Amasa Lyman and Charles C. Rich, 28 Feb. 1857, Historian’s Office, Letterpress Copybooks, vol. 1, pp. 430–431.)
The pages of volume F-1 contain a record of the final weeks of JS’s life and the events of the ensuing days. The narrative commences with and arriving at , Illinois, on 1 May 1844 from their lumber-harvesting mission in the “” of Wisconsin Territory. As the late spring and summer of 1844 unfold, events intensify, especially those surrounding the suppression of the Nauvoo Expositor in mid-June. Legal action over the Expositor leads to a charge of riot, and subsequently JS is charged with treason and is incarcerated at the jail in , Illinois. The narrative of volume F-1 concludes with an account of the special church conference convened on 8 August 1844 to consider who should assume the leadership of the church.
<July 24> with clubs, and that no effort was made to restrain them. An effectual stop must be put to all such vaporing if you expect it to stop on the other side. You are interested in bringing all such men to immediate justice, if you can. If pacification is what you wish, you must restrain your own hostility. [HC 7:207]
“It may be thought that there has already been too much delay in proceeding against the murderers, that a further delay will give an opportunity for many of the guilty to escape, and that the apparent impunity for the present will greatly encourage further outrages against you. This last consideration is one of considerable force, and on that account I could wish to proceed without delay if it could be done without exciting further troubles, or if I had a force at my command on which I could rely to suppress them. I do not fear that any of the leaders will escape or flee from justice: they are determined to remain and brave it out to the end. In my humble opinion there is no utility in proceeding against any but the leaders. As to the misguided multitude who were the mere followers of others, and the instruments of mischief, it has never been the practice of civilized States to proceed against them with rigor. The punishment of some of the principal offenders has always been looked upon as sufficient to vindicate the majesty of the law, and to deter others from the commission of the like offences, and this is the whole object of human punishments.
“I do not apprehend that anything requiring my further stay here will happen immediately, and will return home tomorrow
I am most respectfully
Your obedient Servant
, Illinois” [HC 7:208]
The brethren of the Twelve were delayed in several days waiting upon Elder to accompany them to .
Elders , and left by Railway in the morning for . On their arrival at in the evening they were joined by Elders , , , and Sister , who had arrived from : making six of the Quorum of the Twelve. They all continued their journey by railway during the night.
I sit down a few minutes to write to you, as Bro is going to start for tomorrow: he has been laboring in .
“We cannot get one word from our families by letter of late. Sister has received a letter from her , that, I understand gives some information which seems to be satisfactory. According to what we hear in this country about the Mormons in the West, I should suppose that there is an election about to take place, or the Prophet had offered himself for some office in the ; for of all the howlings of devils and devils whelps, this season cannot be beat. [HC 7:209] Sometimes [p. 283]